Mai See Thao

Photo of Mai See Thao

Contact Me


I am a PhD candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. My research interests are: chronic illness, ethnic consciousness, and transnationalism. My dissertation examines the process of becoming a diabetic patient for Hmong-Americans as it is shaped by social and historical relationships to the Homeland (Laos/Thailand). I explore the materialization and consumption of the Homeland within everyday diabetic experiences and return migrations. In Laos and Thailand, I examined the social interactions around cure/s for diabetes between Hmong-Americans, Hmong-Thai, and Hmong-Lao. My dissertation explores how the economy of cure, rooted in a Hmong diaspora, work to (re)territorialize a Hmong body politic. Furthermore, my overarching research goal is to examine how claims to health, life, and death are caught within notions of sovereignty.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • B.A.: Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 2010.


  • medical anthropology
  • transnationalism
  • psychoanalysis and theories of subjectivity
Research & Professional Activities


  • Community Researcher for Solahmo (Somali, Latino, and Hmong) Partnership for Health and Wellness: Conduct community based participatory action research within Somali, Hmong, and Latino communities of the Twin Cities, 2011 - present